Words present a unique and challenging paradox. While they are sometimes profound in their strength, at other times, when called upon to express something deeply moving, they feel woefully impotent. In some cases, words are vitally important, while in others, they’re considered as little more than the garnish on a serving plate, valued for appearance but never intended for actual consumption.
The Scope and Power of Words ~
The breadth of territory that words can encompass is virtually without limit, and the power they can wield is immense. Words can lay hold of concepts as expansive as the universe itself and expose them in ways that fill us with inexpressible awe. The words applied to a situation can determine the difference between hope and despair, and in many cases, words declare who will live and who will die. Words have served as tools to awaken the passions and strengthen the resolve needed to enable a people to rise up and carve nations out of chaos. But at other times, words have become a malignant virus so undermining the faith and weakening the spirit of a people that once great and powerful nations have descended into chaos.
Words alone are totally unbiased. They deliver their content without regard to whomever chooses to use them. Given their potential for either beneficial or aggressive application, perhaps we should handle our words with the same care we use when handling weapons. Firearms, for example, are “unbiased” devices with no will of their own. Guns are no more willing to serve the murderous gangster than they are the protective police officer, or the private citizen defending his or her home. Guns bring the same capacity to do good or evil, totally dependent on the hands of whoever holds them. Guns also have other uses, such as hunting wildlife to provide food, or for competitive contests and personal recreation sports like skeet shooting. Guns come in all kinds, sizes, shapes, and power potential and can be configured for applications ranging from military combat to Olympic competition. Words share that flexibility as well.
A Point of Agreement ~
Both those who love guns and those who hate them generally agree on at least one point. With their unquestioned power to project destructive force, to handle them with frivolous disregard for their potential impact would be foolishly irresponsible. Consider that same perspective regarding words. Men have unleashed words on one another that have left a trail of violence, bloodshed, and human debris unmatched by all the guns ever made. The Scriptures have warned us repeatedly that the words we so easily speak can become weapons that carry painful and even lethal potential:
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords. Psalm 55:21 (NKJV)
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows–bitter words, That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. Psalm 64:2-4 (NKJV)
We don’t usually think of our dictionary as an arsenal full of potential weapons, but we might think differently if we revisit a confrontation that took place in the very beginning of humanity’s long and bloody history. When the devil invaded the Garden of Eden intent upon destroying an entire race, violence was in his heart, but he carried no weapon in his hand. Instead, he confronted the “mother of all living” with the only weapon he needed — words. He assaulted her with words that first questioned and then contradicted the words her Creator and Provider had spoken. Eve embraced the rebellious ideas that the devil’s words conveyed and then took his weaponized sentences to her husband. She convinced him to accept them as she had done, and to eat the forbidden fruit. When he did, the human race appeared doomed forever. But thankfully, there would be even more powerful words yet to come, and God would soon reveal that the devil didn’t own the dictionary.
The Word that Overcomes ~
Satan may have claimed victory as his lies ushered death into God’s perfect world, but he surely must have trembled thousands of years later as a baby’s cry rose up from a stable in Bethlehem. The deceitful enemy whose twisted words led to the sins that filled the world with pain and death was doomed when Grace and Truth came to life in that stable. As air filled sinless human lungs that night, the omnipotent Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. Calvary’s cross, and an empty tomb would validate the words Jesus spoke to Martha and confirm the promise they contained for us all:
… I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
God sent Jesus to confront every form of evil the world would ever be able to concoct, and he brought no army with Him. He came with no weapons other than the words spoken from the heart of a loving and omnipotent God and the eternal truth they conveyed. He withstood every attack the enemy could level against Him and countered every deception with words as invincible as the One who spoke them.
Faith is our primary means of personal contact with God, and the only source of power capable of overcoming a world system designed to entice us into self-destruction. There are two things God provides as a basis for that faith, the words He has spoken and the deeds He has done.
The Mission Continues ~
The initial stage of Jesus’ mission was fulfilled when He had demonstrated what divine love looked and sounded like and when He had paid the awful price demanded for our redemption. The next stage was to send His followers into the world to counteract the seductive ideas and deceptive philosophies that pervert God’s design and lead to disappointment, frustration, bloody conflict, and death. Jesus sent those men and women with no weapon other than the one He used. They changed the course of history with words that offer love, hope, healing, redemption, and restoration, and defined those words with lives empowered by the Spirit of God. As Jesus Himself declared:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (NKJV)
We have at our disposal a veritable dictionary full of weapons that can overcome the destructive ideas flooding our atmosphere every day. The lies and twisted philosophies that the world system promotes can only be victorious if the words that contradict them are never spoken and the lives that overcome them are hidden from view. The dictionary is just a book until we use its contents to reveal and communicate the ideas lying dormant inside. Our Bible is just a book . . . until we bring its words to life in ways that others can see and hear. Then it becomes a weapon that the enemy can never withstand.
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- “Satan may have claimed victory as his lies ushered death into God’s perfect world, but he surely must have trembled thousands of years later as a baby’s cry rose up from a stable in Bethlehem.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God sent Jesus to confront every form of evil the world would ever concoct, and he brought no army with Him. He came with no weapon other than words spoken from the heart of a loving and omnipotent God and the eternal truth they conveyed.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “(Jesus’ followers) changed the course of history with words that offer love, hope, healing, redemption, and restoration, and defined those words with lives empowered by the Spirit of God.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The lies and twisted philosophies that the world system promotes can only be victorious if the words that contradict them are never spoken and the lives that overcome them are hidden from view.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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